The day after New Year’s Day in Pasadena is a day of recovery. With the Rose Parade the previous day, Colorado Blvd is in a state of shock and everyone is out looking for the perfect place to brunch.
But we had a theatrical adventure ahead of us at The Pasadena Playhouse that day, with tickets to see Peter Pan & Tinker Bell – A Pirate’s Christmas, courtesy of our fantastic friend Eleanor Albano, who looks out for kid-friendly fare for us so that she can indoctrinate Violet into the world of entertainment – or may be she’s just a really nice person.
Either way, the play was a fun, goofy, hilarious interactive romp! John O’Hurly played Captain Hook with the perfect slapstick swagger one needs to pull off guffaws from parents and kids alike. He’s best known for his role as Mr. Peterman on Seinfeld, and that unique brand of clueless bravado was in full swing here, alongside Parvesh Cheena (from Outsourced) as Smee, the tireless semi-narrator of the show whose eye-rolling au currant wisecracks alternately buoyed and foiled Hook. Cheena gets bonus points from me for his bravery interviewing kids from the audience at the end and making it entertaining.
Parvesh Cheena as Smee and John O’Hurley as Captain Hook.
Peter Pan himself was played by Kevin Quinn from Disney’s Bunk’d and was the perfect clueless heartbreaker for rivaling would-be mates Wendy and Tinker Bell – good looking and kind-hearted, but always flying away…. Many kids gasped (including mine) as he flew across the stage for the first time – adorable!
Violet has recently learned that actors move around from TV shows to movies to plays, so she was eager to identify Sabrina Carpenter from Disney’s Girl Meets World, as Wendy, the girl who follows Peter Pan to Neverland, and her brothers John (Corey Fogelmanis) and Michael (August Maturo) who are also stars on that show. Carpenter has an outstanding polished singing voice, perhaps a lot more than you’d expect from Wendy, but hey, this is Hollywood – we like our literary characters to sing and dance ridiculously well.
And speaking of dancing, the whole “Kikiwaka” scene had some seriously good dancing in it by Adam Moss, Clarice Ordaz and Tio’ya Leatherwood. The Kikiwaka are the allies of the Lost Boys in Neverland – maybe you remember? Don’t worry if you don’t, because there are so many liberties taken with the Peter Pan story in this version (like the selection of Hook’s crew as Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Elvis Presley) that you just need to commit to the ride.
Tinker Bell was a stand-out, played by Chrissie Fit. She cruised around in roller sneakers, spoke half in Spanish, and stole the audience’s heart with her regret at her hotheaded decision to betray Peter Pan and give away his location to the evil Hook. By the time the ridiculous crocodile puppet came on stage to chase Hook away, the cast had already won us over.
The Michael Orland Band performed all the music live from the orchestra pit, and they didn’t miss a dramatic swell or comedic honk and whistle – it was not a short play and had at least three endings that I counted, so I’m going to guess this was not an easy feat, though perhaps their years working on American Idol was a training ground for pulling off just about anything, musically speaking. Orland was in the hot seat as the musical director and lead keyboard player, with Brian Boyce on percussion and Keith Harrison as Assistant Musical Director and keyboardist. Bravo!
It was a joy to close out the holidays indulging in a big, fun, screwball kids’ production. I don’t know about you, but I totally believe in fairies.